October 28, 2011
Camping, Creeks, and Community
As I write, I am waiting for Greek class to start and sitting next to Devon, a fellow Floridian. She is doing her best to distract me (and failing of course). Koert, my small group leader, is teaching Greek as an optional “enrichment” course for about an hour each week, but really he is just trying to refresh his memory before beginning seminary. As you may know, Summit Semester is marketed as an intense Christian academic program. Class time and study are the central items around which the rest of the schedule is arranged, and with options like Greek, we certainly get our fill of rigorous academics. But the community aspect unique to Semester provides many opportunities to build relationships outside of class. Camping is just one example.
This past weekend we went camping from Sunday evening to Monday morning. The story of this trip is a perfect example of the capacity for relationship building here at Semester, and it also provides a glimpse into some of the excitement and adventure we get to experience out here in Colorado.
About twenty of the total thirty-one students decided to come camping. We gathered around the campfire in the evening after the initial camp set-up. One of the students brought a guitar and we spent several hours talking, singing, telling stories, and roasting marshmallows over the fire. It was a great time of fellowship and bonding for us. As the fire died we scattered to prepare for bed. Half a dozen slept in tents, but the rest (including me) slept out under the stars. Nothing can compare to the beauty of the heavens when viewed from the darkness of the Colorado wilderness.
It was a bit chilly, but we all brought extra layers of clothing and blankets so most of us stayed fairly warm. Our (not so) fearless leader could not sleep, so he deserted us about two am and returned to the lodge for a couple of hours in his own bed. In the morning he returned just as we rekindled the fire and ate breakfast. We didn’t need to return to the lodge for another couple of hours, so a group of us decided to go on a hike. The campsite bordered a very cold, shallow creek that ran about twenty feet across. There were several large rocks that made a path across the water, and Sunday evening, I had crossed the river without difficulty. The only direction that looked interesting for our morning hike was across the river, so we decided to head down that way.
One of the “seats” around the campfire was a log about six feet long and about six inches in diameter. It was very light for its size and could be carried easily, so I decided to carry it along to use as a bridge over the slippery part of the stream. However I did not communicate my intention to the rest of the group. As a result, I was at the back of the line with the log when disaster struck at the front. None of us had anticipated the effects that a cold night would have on our crossing. The splashing water had frozen on a rock that was barely out of the water. Of course, no one thought about ice, so the girl who was leading us (who shall remain unnamed) began to cross the river. As soon as her foot hit the icy rock she slid off downstream. It happened to be the deepest part (about knee high) and very, very cold. The riverbed was also pretty slippery, so by the time she made it back to the closest bank, she was wet up to her shoulders. She went back to change and get warm and everyone else went with her.
But Steven - my fellow student and adventurer - and I could not admit defeat, so we decided to press onward and test our “bridge”. It worked wonderfully. The log was the exact length to cross the gap and rest against the bottom of the stream. We crossed the bridge and surveyed the rest of the passage (two more rocks before the opposite bank). The next rock was a long step, almost a hop, still easily within our reach with the help of my "bridge." But a number of mishaps happened all at once, and I lost my balance and my right foot slipped into the stream. Luckily, I had a high-top waterproof boot on and I could feel neither the water or the cold. Steven, however, was unaware of this fact. In a valiant attempt to save me, he ended up in the water too. His boots were not waterproof and he was instantly soaked. There was nothing for it; we were forced to turn back to camp in defeat. We joined our soaking classmates and headed back to the lodge. We had learning to do. But the great thing is, we're all in it together, soaking, Greek, camping, learning and all.
This is a true account of the events surrounding our camping experience. No humans suffered any lasting discomfort, injury, or illness after the conclusion of this trip.
Josh comes to Summit ready to gain “a broader understanding of Christianity and its relationship with the various disciplines of academic study.” He received his Associate of Arts degree at Edison State College, and has been working toward a degree in engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. He traveled to Haiti on a missions project last summer and is taking a break from his studies as he evaluates the direction of his education. He was captain of his soccer team, and works as an assistant at Computer Medics. He is very interested in how things work, loves to hang out with friends, and enjoys soccer and basketball.
- Posted at 08:46 am by Dustin Jizmejian